Jamaica to Appoint Poet Laureate


According to the Jamaica Observer, in two weeks, Jamaica is expected to appoint its first poet laureate in 50 years. The article underlines that the title is expected to be a national honor and not an honorary title, as was the case in the past, so it must be approved by Parliament. Here are excerpts:

The ceremony for the naming of the new poet laureate was expected to be held yesterday at King’s House. However, a source said that the function had to be postponed to April 15, to facilitate Government’s decision to make the title a national award. “It is going to be fully embraced by the Government as a national honour; therefore, it has to go to Parliament for approval. So, we had to postpone the ceremony to April 15 to facilitate the change,” Kristen Laing, public relations and marketing officer at the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ), said Tuesday.

Jamaica’s two previous poets laureate — Tom Redcam and J E Clare McFarlane — were named by the Poetry League of Jamaica. The new poet laureate programme will be a joint initiative of the National Library and the Entertainment Advisory Board of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and is being financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund.

The poet laureate will be selected by a committee from public nominations and will serve for three years. Nominations closed in December and the choice should have been made by the end of January but had to be delayed to accommodate the change.

The poet laureate is expected to celebrate and propel Jamaican poetry to new heights. In addition to being recognised for his/her outstanding accomplishments as a Jamaican poet, the poet laureate will also undertake public poetry events to stimulate a greater appreciation for Jamaican poetry, promote poetry as an art and medium for entertainment and for recording and disseminating cultural heritage.

For full article, see http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/news/Jamaica-to-appoint-poet-laureate_16387516

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